Surfullu Baku-style

SURFULLU (Sürfüllü) is one of the most unique dishes of Azerbaijani cuisine and is considered the king of all dough dishes made with handmade pasta. The homeland of Surfullu is Gakh city, which is located in the north-west of Azerbaijan, on the border of Azerbaijan and Georgia.
The uniqueness of this dish lies in its handmade pasta (very similar to Italian pasta, Cavatelli), and a kind of jerky meat named “gakhaj” and homemade sausage named “jijnagur”. Fans of Surfullu say that cooked meat in this dish has a very distinctive taste, which takes some getting used to. Due to the rarity of these kinds of meats, in this recipe I prepare “Baku-style” Surfullu, which made of fresh lamb and combined with a sour plum sauce that gives the dish a fantastic flavor.

*A full-sized picture of this dish is available in the Gallery.

Ingredients for 4 servings:
for cooking the lamb
2 lb (1kg) lamb short ribs
1 onion
salt and pepper to taste
sour plum sauce (Turshi)
for the dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup warm water
for cooking pasta surfully
water for large pot
1 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
crushed garlic to taste

Preparing the sour sauce.
(Can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.)

1. Place the dried sour plums (1 cup) in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil.
2. Lower the heat and simmer until the plums are soft enough to mush and the water is vaporized.
3. Then, strain the plums through a colander into the bowl while pressing and rubbing to get the pulp out but keep the pits and skins in the colander.
4. The sauce should have a consistency like ketchup.
(Alternatively, use tamarind paste.)


Preparing the meat.

Season the lamb ribs with salt and pepper and lightly fry them on all sides in their own fat. If needed, add some butter. (You can also cook Surfullu with lamb tenderloin if you don’t have lamb ribs.)


Chop the onion and place it on the meat.


Cover the meat and onion with boiling water, put the lid on, and simmer over low heat until the meat is fully cooked. Then, add 1-2 tbsp of sour sauce (to your taste), mix it all together, and simmer for another 15 minutes.


Preparing the dough and pasta*.

1. Sift the flour into a bowl. Add salt and water and start kneading the dough until it is soft and elastic.
2. Shape the dough into a ball, cover it with plastic wrap, and set it aside for at least 20 minutes to rest before you start working with it.
3. Cut off 1/4 of the dough from the dough ball and roll into a long evenly thick rope about ½ inch (1 cm) in diameter.
Then cut the rope into 1 inch (2cm) long pieces.
4. Curl each little piece of the dough by pressing it down, rolling, and pushing away with your finger. You can use whichever finger gets you the best-looking shape.


Place the pasta pieces on a lightly-floured plate when done.
Repeat these steps until the dough runs out.


Cook your pasta right before serving. Place it in a large pot of salted, boiling water and add one tablespoon of olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking. Stir with a spoon from time to time. Cook until the pasta is cooked through and begins floating to the top (taste to make sure it is done—if it’s still too hard, cook a little longer). Remove the pasta Surfullu from the water with a skimmer and place them on a serving plate.
Place the lamb on the pasta and pour the delicious sour broth on top. (You can also serve pasta and lamb with broth on separate serving plates.)
Serve hot with a side of crushed garlic mixed with turshi.


Bon Appétit! Enjoy!
*If you’re too busy to make your own pasta, you can use Italian Cavatelli pasta in this dish, whose shape and preparation technique is almost identical to the pasta used in Surfullu.

This post is also available in: Russian

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